Senior representatives from Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States met for an online roundtable – COVID-19, Religion and Belief: Canada, United States, and United Kingdom Perspectives – addressing challenges to religious liberty during the period of COVID-19.

Panellists at the July 2 event were Rita French, the UK’s International Ambassador for Human Rights and Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva; Nadine Maenza, Commissioner and Vice Chair, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom; and Tamara Mawhinney, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Canada to the UN, Geneva. The webinar was chaired by Dr. Pasquale Annicchino, Bruno Kessler Foundation/Cambridge Institute on Religion & International Studies.

The UK’s International Ambassador for Human Rights, Rita French, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly brought out the best in many religious and belief communities around the world. We have seen remarkable acts of kindness, including enhanced efforts to care for the vulnerable, and actively sharing credible advice on health and safety precautions. But we have also seen incidents of particular concern.

“Defending the right to Freedom of Religion or Belief, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities, is a human rights policy priority for the UK. Civil society, and religious and secular actors are important partners and critical friends of governments. They provide honest and candid advice, and urge us to do more than before. It is vital that we all continue to work together, to address the global challenge that we face.”

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